My advice on transitioning - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 08-07-2015, 04:15 AM
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My advice on transitioning

I just thought I'd share my experiences with anyone thinking of becoming vegetarian who is worried about the transition.


For me, it was very easy just to make the decision to do it, and switch fully overnight.


I didn't reduce my meat intake or cut things out gradually. To me, that would just make things more difficult.


When eating at a restaurant, don't scan down the menu being tempted by all the things you "can't" eat. Simply establish the meat-free options (usually 2 or 3 choices) and pick between them.


This black and white approach might not work for everyone, or those who are much more fond of their steaks than I ever was, but it's certainly worth a try.
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#2 Old 08-07-2015, 05:44 AM
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I just thought I'd share my experiences with anyone thinking of becoming vegetarian who is worried about the transition.


For me, it was very easy just to make the decision to do it, and switch fully overnight.


I didn't reduce my meat intake or cut things out gradually. To me, that would just make things more difficult.


When eating at a restaurant, don't scan down the menu being tempted by all the things you "can't" eat. Simply establish the meat-free options (usually 2 or 3 choices) and pick between them.


This black and white approach might not work for everyone, or those who are much more fond of their steaks than I ever was, but it's certainly worth a try.
You'll find no end to grinding back and forth on this topic here on VeggieBoards. Honestly, it seems most people will ardently recommend a gradual transition. However, I agree with you.

Whereas you've always been omni and comfortably went vegetarian overnight, I've always been vegetarian and went vegan overnight. Both are certainly possible, and it'll undoubtedly be more difficult for some rather than others, but I get the impression that many people exaggerate the literal challenge of not buying certain products.

If other people are holding you back, that's one thing, but if you're letting your cravings control you, that's dangerous.

Ironically, that basic lack of restraint is another way that humans refuse to acknowledge makes them so similar to the animals they divorce themselves from.

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#3 Old 08-07-2015, 08:25 AM
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I went vegetarian and vegan overnight, too. I think it's easier to go vegetarian overnight though because you can typically eat the same foods, just omit the meat, whereas veganism requires meal planning. I never had much of a problem at restaurants, I'd often order whatever I wanted and then just ask them not to add the meat and occasionally I'd see if I could substitute it with something. When I go to a new restaurant, I also first check if they have a vegetarian section on the menu, if you do that when you are first transitioning you won't get tempted by other options.
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#4 Old 08-07-2015, 09:38 AM
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Although I went vegetarian overnight, it took me several tries to be successful. I did let my cravings control me, but I finally put my foot down and just did it. The same with my vegan diet. With a little planning before hand, I picked a date and stopped eating eggs and dairy starting that day (I needed planning to figure out coffee creamer and other little details). I've had a very successful first week. EDIT: I'm still working on finding cruelty-free, vegan household products, but for the most part I've transfered or just been avoiding stuff that isn't vegan.

Something I did notice is that Dogma, Lil' Tofu and I all were vegetarians and then vegans. I wonder if this made our transitions easier? (Assuming your transitions were easy)

Last edited by Radharc; 08-07-2015 at 09:41 AM.
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#5 Old 08-07-2015, 03:05 PM
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I think that what's easiest for one person isn't necessarily easiest for another.
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#6 Old 08-07-2015, 03:18 PM
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It really doesn't matter how you get there.
I hear from so many who say they really tried but just couldn't find things they liked and missed too much. Calling them selfish doesn't help the animals, and only shuts off the message. If they were to have taken it slower, done more research, found more resources, they might have made the transition. That's why I love meatless mondays so much. people that may never even considered veg foods are kinda forced to start seeing them as perfectly acceptable alternatives.whether it converts people, or just gets them to make more veg'n meals, that is a win.

I do recommend thinking of new foods rather than replacing what you love that isn't veg'n. At least in the beginning. Olives were a better replacement for cheese than vegan cheese, at least in the beginning
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#7 Old 08-07-2015, 04:31 PM
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the answer for me was hummus. every time i wanted cheese i had hummus instead: salty savory fat.

olives were helpful to me, too, i put them in my pasta sauce. i made it really hearty by adding crushed toasted sesame seeds and nutritional yeast.

but i was already a big salad and vegetables person so i really didn't need much "help." i just needed to get over cheese.
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#8 Old 08-07-2015, 04:33 PM
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Something I did notice is that Dogma, Lil' Tofu and I all were vegetarians and then vegans. I wonder if this made our transitions easier?
Oh, undoubtedly. If you're comparing omni to vegetarian or vegetarian to vegan, I think the latter is more demanding since it eschews a much larger fraction of the average person's diet. However if you were referring to it being easier to go from vegetarian to vegan than omni to vegan, I would agree that is a much bigger change.

Quote:
(Assuming your transitions were easy)
As much as such a change could be considered complicated, I would still describe my shift as easy. I grew up vegetarian and was vegetarian for years before I changed my mind and cleared out the fridge one evening. Fortunately I live near major food retailers with dedicated vegetarian/vegan sections and healthy produce and international food sections, so finding vegan food was by no means a challenge other than making a better habit of checking labels against my ingredient blacklist.

As far as cravings are concerned, I've found myself inordinately stopped from time to time as I pass a pizza place at the mall. Some days that stuff smells REALLY good. However I never broke down and bought anything non-vegan and now the smell is much less appealing, even sickening at times. I feel like my changed diet has changed what appeals to my senses.

On the rare occasions where I have found myself taking a bite of those old foods (freeganism), they just taste horrible and I have to put them down before I feel ill. Conversely, where I was never a fan of stuff like hummus before, bizarrely I'm buying it all the time. It just tastes better to me now.

So, for me, the change was self-propelling.


There is just one dream food that lies far beyond my grasp which I hope to experience at least once in my life:

Vegan Pineapple Pizza Calzone
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#9 Old 08-07-2015, 05:50 PM
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Mmm, a vegan pineapple pizza calzone sounds amazing! I love, love, love pineapple pizza. Especially with vegan ham! 😋
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#10 Old 08-07-2015, 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Radharc View Post
Something I did notice is that Dogma, Lil' Tofu and I all were vegetarians and then vegans. I wonder if this made our transitions easier? (Assuming your transitions were easy)
I think it makes the transition easier, simply because it's less food to give up. However, I didn't plan on going vegan when I first went vegetarian years ago, it was a fairly recent decision. I've always wanted to go vegan, I just never thought I had the means or will to do so. I originally told myself I'd try and make it a month, but so far it's been really easy and I don't think I can see myself becoming an ex vegan.
Like cuberail, the only thing I really had to cut out to go vegan was cheese. I already started buying soy milk and stopped buying yogurt. So transitioning into vegan wasn't too difficult from vegetarianism for me.
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#11 Old 08-07-2015, 06:38 PM
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I went from omnivore to vegan overnight 4.5 years ago at the age of 38 and never looked back. Granted I had a terrible intolerance to most dairy and cheese so I already cut the majority of that stuff out a long time before so that might have made it easier. I still love being vegan as much as I did on day one if not more. I am an extremely determined and independent person who is a bit of a loner and I think those characteristics have made it easier for me as well. I am and was also anal about organizing and planning outings, food, etc.

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#12 Old 08-07-2015, 06:44 PM
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Mmm, a vegan pineapple pizza calzone sounds amazing! I love, love, love pineapple pizza. Especially with vegan ham!
I have no foundation for interpreting that. I've never had real or fake ham before.

Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever seen that for sale anywhere.
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#13 Old 08-08-2015, 03:44 AM
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I have no foundation for interpreting that. I've never had real or fake ham before.

Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever seen that for sale anywhere.
Oh! Sorry. The kind I've had is essentially smoked tofu. It has a salty, smoky flavour. We served "ham" fried rice at my wedding and the omnivore guests couldn't tell the difference. I don't remember what regular ham tastes like but this stuff is delicious.
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#14 Old 08-08-2015, 06:22 AM
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I don't remember what regular ham tastes like but this stuff is delicious.
My memory is similarly tainted by time, however if I can trick omnis into eating fake meat with nothing but compliments for the food, then they must be very convincing. Some are better than others of course.

I've noticed from my experience as a vegetarian that most vegan ice creams are way off, but a rare couple brands have nailed the taste.

As far as cheese is concerned, I REALLY don't know if I've lost the taste for it, or all the vegan substitutes I've tried are really that bad.
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#15 Old 08-08-2015, 06:54 AM
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My memory is similarly tainted by time, however if I can trick omnis into eating fake meat with nothing but compliments for the food, then they must be very convincing. Some are better than others of course.

I've noticed from my experience as a vegetarian that most vegan ice creams are way off, but a rare couple brands have nailed the taste.

As far as cheese is concerned, I REALLY don't know if I've lost the taste for it, or all the vegan substitutes I've tried are really that bad.
I've never been a fan of cheese, vegan or otherwise (except cheesecake!), but my favourite vegan ice cream is Coconut Bliss. Have you tried it? It has a definite coconut flavour but I like that. It's very creamy and sweet. The cherry amaretto flavour reminds me of Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia. Speaking of B&J, they're supposed to be releasing a dairy-free ice cream next year!
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#16 Old 08-08-2015, 07:51 AM
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I've never been a fan of cheese, vegan or otherwise (except cheesecake!), but my favourite vegan ice cream is Coconut Bliss. Have you tried it? It has a definite coconut flavour but I like that. It's very creamy and sweet. The cherry amaretto flavour reminds me of Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia. Speaking of B&J, they're supposed to be releasing a dairy-free ice cream next year!
Cherry Garcia-esque vegan ice cream, huh? I've never had that. Sounds good though.
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#17 Old 08-08-2015, 08:37 AM
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Cherry Garcia-esque vegan ice cream, huh? I've never had that. Sounds good though.
http://coconutbliss.com/bliss/
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#18 Old 08-08-2015, 09:26 AM
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I went this way also. I moved into my new place (no food in the house anyway) and when I stocked I only stocked with vegetarian (no ovo-lacto). I had been an ovo-lacto before though.

I don't go out to eat much, so I am in total control over what I put in my mouth.
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#19 Old 08-08-2015, 01:00 PM
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I have no foundation for interpreting that. I've never had real or fake ham before.

Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever seen that for sale anywhere.
I believe Tofurky sells ham deli slices which is a more expensive option than smoked tofu.
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#20 Old 10-24-2015, 03:14 PM
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As you said that approach doesnt works for everybody. For example in my case, I decided to follow a slow transition I know myself better than anybody I know if I make a very abrupt change I going to fail, I planed a very slow progression, That approach works for me. I think is important to experiment several approaches to see which one fits better to your personality.
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#21 Old 10-24-2015, 03:55 PM
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I'm another overnighter, as was my ex-husband and my son. I was in my late 30s and had spent nearly four decades eating other animals. I honestly don't understand the difficulty so many people seem to experience. It's not like learning to ski or surf or even drive, where one has to get the hang of the thing. It's just a do-or-don't-do thing. Meal planning?...not me. It's mere common sense to eat what's necessary for good health over the course of a day or two. I did way more meal-planning when we were omni.

An old friend who's in his 70s and has been vegan for nearly 50 years once told me that he believes people like to make things difficult because then they can lay claim to having conquered this Huge And Difficult Thing. I tend to agree with him. I think this is fairly common these days with so many people griping about how hard it is to do this or be that (working parents, college, job/work, etc.). Life just isn't that hard! It's just life! Get over the drama and the martyrdom and just live it!

What's hard is being homeless. Or being extremely ill without help or money. Or losing a limb (or two or more). Or grieving the death of a child. Or being beaten to a pulp in a robbery and left to die. Or fighting in war (just or unjust). Or dealing with the effects of Agent Orange or depleted uranium. There are countless things in life that are difficult. Becoming a vegetarian or vegan just isn't one of them.

Maybe it depends on the reason(s) for going veg, but once you know the truth about the other beings who are tortured to become "food", how on earth can it possibly be hard?
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#22 Old 10-24-2015, 11:45 PM
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I believe Tofurky sells ham deli slices which is a more expensive option than smoked tofu.
Noted.
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#23 Old 10-25-2015, 01:04 PM
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Overnighter for omni to vegetarian, then vegetarian to vegan. I think that having a live in boyfriend who does eat animal products ultimately made it easier. There was no tossing out, which we definitely could not afford. I just turned to him and said "I'm eating vegan now so this week's dairy is up to you to finish." He didn't finish the milk before it turned, but half a gallon of unused milk is hardly a good reason to change my mind. I did have to go without as much to eat the first couple weeks because the shopping was done, but I'm overweight anyway so it's not as if it was horrible for me to eat less.
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#24 Old 10-25-2015, 01:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr_falafel View Post
I just thought I'd share my experiences with anyone thinking of becoming vegetarian who is worried about the transition.


For me, it was very easy just to make the decision to do it, and switch fully overnight.


I didn't reduce my meat intake or cut things out gradually. To me, that would just make things more difficult.


When eating at a restaurant, don't scan down the menu being tempted by all the things you "can't" eat. Simply establish the meat-free options (usually 2 or 3 choices) and pick between them.


This black and white approach might not work for everyone, or those who are much more fond of their steaks than I ever was, but it's certainly worth a try.
Same here. Wasn't tough at all. One day I had meat (it was a Saturday night... broccoli & cheddar stuffed chicken breast... sooo tasty), and then I didn't. And haven't since. It's been a little over a year, I feel fantastic, and I don't miss animal flesh one damn bit!

By the way, I love your name. We must be friends now. LOL (I've been on a falafel-making kick recently... actually gonna make a batch of "dough" tonight, but changing things up to black beans instead of chickpeas, strong red onion, cumin, chipotle, cilantro.... hope they turn out!)


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#25 Old 10-25-2015, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by everly View Post
i'm another overnighter, as was my ex-husband and my son. I was in my late 30s and had spent nearly four decades eating other animals. I honestly don't understand the difficulty so many people seem to experience. It's not like learning to ski or surf or even drive, where one has to get the hang of the thing. It's just a do-or-don't-do thing. Meal planning?...not me. It's mere common sense to eat what's necessary for good health over the course of a day or two. I did way more meal-planning when we were omni.

An old friend who's in his 70s and has been vegan for nearly 50 years once told me that he believes people like to make things difficult because then they can lay claim to having conquered this huge and difficult thing. I tend to agree with him. I think this is fairly common these days with so many people griping about how hard it is to do this or be that (working parents, college, job/work, etc.). Life just isn't that hard! It's just life! Get over the drama and the martyrdom and just live it!

What's hard is being homeless. Or being extremely ill without help or money. Or losing a limb (or two or more). Or grieving the death of a child. Or being beaten to a pulp in a robbery and left to die. Or fighting in war (just or unjust). Or dealing with the effects of agent orange or depleted uranium. There are countless things in life that are difficult. Becoming a vegetarian or vegan just isn't one of them.

Maybe it depends on the reason(s) for going veg, but once you know the truth about the other beings who are tortured to become "food", how on earth can it possibly be hard?
bravo!!!!


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#26 Old 10-25-2015, 01:40 PM
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I'll admit it was tough for me. Not so much at home but away from home. And I have no excuse...I'm not feeding anybody else except the two cats, I'm not dependent upon anyone for my food.

I never felt not-hungry. For months. And when I would get down I would go out to eat and eat meat. Or I'd try to eat vegetarian and forget to have them hold the fish sauce and get frustrated. I just kept trying.

Then one day I was biting through chicken skin and it occurred to me that I was eating the skin of a formerly living, breathing being. And that was it. A few days later I got a free non-vegan scone at Panera, and that was the last dairy/egg I've eaten.

I'm not vegan, I would eat dairy/egg as part of a baked good if someone offered it to me, maybe. I just won't buy them or pay for them.
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